Rearranging the master bath

Shower added into bump-out area (where the hammer is). Washer will be in area with EPS foam and paint cans. Dryer will be bottom right of picture where lumber is standing. Log wall will be framed in. Yes, it would look cool to have a log wall in a shower, but it's really bad for the logs, even with layers and layers of poly. We will stick frame over the logs instead, but just in the bathroom. Closet (in bathroom) will be where skill saw and nail gun are laying. Toilet - next to little plastic porta-potty. Entrance to bathroom is where the tile is laid.

We bought a toilet the other day and stuck it in the master bathroom to get an idea on how it would fit in the tiny corner bathroom, and it turned out that we didn't have nearly enough space in there for a shower. But maybe I should back up a little - we designed this home from scratch, with the goal of being able to do all our living on the first floor. A 40'x40' 3,000 square foot home might seem quite large by the numbers, but we soon found out it is difficult to get everything to fit on one floor. Sure, we have a second floor, but this is our "grow-old-together" home, so we want to avoid going up and down stairs if we don't need to. So the first floor contains:

  • kitchen
  • dining
  • living room
  • 2 bedrooms
  • 2 bathrooms
  • laundry
  • some storage

The second floor has always been reserved for

  • 2 bedrooms (kids have all moved out but 1, so we'll have a spare bedroom and "an office")
  • 1 bath
  • large storage room
  • lots of open space

The third floor (yes, probably)

  • 1 large room.

ok, back to the problem at hand: we found that the master bathroom was too small to accommodate anything but a 32"x32" shower, which is the smallest shower they make an install for. We couldn't see using that. We literally moved the toilet around the bathroom in every position we could think of, but couldn't get everything to fit. We drove home frustrated. Next to the bathroom is the laundry room, which was already cramped with the washer, dryer, and water heater. I started focusing on the water heater - I had heard they make water heaters that install in crawlspaces - they call them "short stack" heaters. One might fit, but I don't like the idea of the water heater under the house exposed to the elements (open pier foundation). I thought about mounting a short stack up high in the laundry room - and then had a lightbulb moment - why don't we stick the water heater upstairs? There is a lot more space up there, and a water heater isn't something you need access to. Sure, it'll take the shower a bit longer to warm up, but we already live with that.

We set to work re-drawing our plans and were able to bump the shower up to about 42" x 42", which is plenty big. We are going to tile the shower, so getting the size right for an insert isn't that important. I cut out the wall and moved the studs around to make room for the shower. The laundry room now looks funky, but still functional, and the water heater will be upstairs, with the shower taking its place. Incidentally, shower inserts are insanely expensive - a cheap one starts at about $500. Tile takes longer, but is so, so, so much cheaper. And it looks nicer than an insert.

If we do a third floor, it will bump the square footage up over 3,200 sq ft. I'm not sure on this one yet, but the structure could definitely handle it.